GUILDFORD 4: Gerry Conlon - 7/7 Crime & Prejudice - Guardian Unlimited online - The Independent online - In the Name of the Father 1993 - Rough Justice & Alastair Logan TV -
16,750. I felt the rush of happiness and warmth coming out of the people and I was carried out among them on a surge of joy. I suppose when you die and go to heaven you get a feeling like that. Gerry Conlon, Proved Innocent 1990
16,751. The life sentence goes on. It’s like a runaway train that you can’t just get off. Gerry Conlon, Irish Post 13th September 1997
16,752. The likely culprits of the pub bombings were the Balcom Street Gang who admitted at a theft trial in 1977 that they were responsible, and the Guildford 4 were innocent. It was another twelve years before it was established that the police manipulated their notes from their interviews with the Guildford 4. 7/7: Crime & Prejudice
16,753. After the incredulity and then the euphoria of release from jail, the four people who had served 15 years for the Guildford pub bombings in 1974 had to find a life. Three are now married with families but the years of adjustment have been painful.
Ten years ago today the only thing that mattered was when Lord Lane, the lord chief justice, pronounced those magic words: the convictions of Gerry Conlon, Carole Richardson, Paul Hill and Paddy Armstrong were ‘unsafe and unsatisfactory’.
Conlon, a wild and wiry bundle of suppressed energy with delirious sisters on either arm, was the only one to face the crowds outside the front door of the Old Bailey. He punched the air in defiance and ran the wrong way down the street. Just like a confused animal, his lawyer thought. Conlon was then 35.
Richardson, 17 at the time of her arrest, was shocked and weak at the knees. She and her former boyfriend, Armstrong, disappeared separately out the back. She just wanted to hide. Hill, who was still serving life for a murder in Northern Ireland, was taken to Crumlin Road prison in Belfast and bailed two days later.
Theirs was the first of the momentous Irish miscarriage of justice cases which convulsed the criminal justice system and led to a rare royal commission. The crisis of confidence was encapsulated in one of Lord Lane’s concluding remarks: ‘The officers must have lied.’ Guardian Unlimited online article 19th October 1999 David Pallister ‘Guildford Four: 10 Years on an injustice that still reverberates’
16,754. Twenty-five years after four young people were wrongfully convicted of the Guildford pub bombings in 1974, Tony Blair has become the first person in authority to apologise for the miscarriage of justice.
In a letter to Courtney Kennedy Hill, the American wife of Paul Hill, one of the Guildford four, he said he was ‘very sorry’ they were wrongly imprisoned.
Details of the apology were revealed in a special two-part edition of BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme last night which told Mr Hill’s story.
Mr Hill, Gerry Conlon, Patrick Armstrong and Carole Richardson were given life sentences for bombing public houses in Guildford, Surrey. Each spent 15 years in prison before their convictions were overturned by the court of appeal in 1989. Guardian Unlimited article 6th June 2000
16,755. The Guildford Four miscarriage of justice was due to individual failings among police and prosecutors and not inbuilt weaknesses in the system, the May inquiry into the affair has concluded.
Sir John May spent four and a half years deliberating on the case which shattered confidence in the British legal system, but his conclusions were greeted with disappointment. Chris Mullin, the MP who campaigned on behalf of the Four, said they were a ‘near perfect replica of the official position’ while Alistair Logan, solicitor for two of the Four, said they did not add to knowledge of the affair. (Miscarriage of Justice & Police) The Independent online article 1st July 1994 Terry Kirby
96,308. Belfast in the early seventies was total chaos. In the Name of the Father 1993 starring Daniel Day-Lewis & Peter Postlethwaite & John Lynch & Mark Sheppard & Beatie Edney & Emma Thompson & Anthony Brophy & Frankie McCafferty & Maureen McBride & Don Baker & Corin Redgrave et al, director Jim Sheridan
96,309. Then I met my old school-mate Paul Hill. Little did I know that after meeting Hill my life would change for ever. ibid.
96,322. Are you praying for the seventh cavalry? ibid. son to father
96,323. They know the truth. They can’t afford to face it. It’s a war – you're one of those innocent victims; I’m sorry for your trouble. ibid.
107,365. Several books were written on the bombings, and the Guildford 4 case became one of the greatest cases of Miscarriage of Justice of the 80s. The verdicts were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1989. Rough Justice: Secrets of the Guildford 4,
107,368. ‘Havers was to tell the jury the alibi was concocted by the IRA for her [Carole Richardson] and that her alibi witnesses were willing accomplices.’ ibid. Alastair Logan
107,369. ‘At the end of the trial the jury rejected the defendant’s allegations about their treatment.’ ibid.
107,370. ‘Donaldson went on to become trial judge in the McGuire 7 case where the prosecution was conducted by none other than Sir Michael Havers.’ ibid.
107,371. The treatment of the detained person was open to considerable abuse … Sixteen years after PACE was introduced abuse still goes on. ibid.